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Firebending emblem Fire Nation emblem
By Dudewaldo4 Part of the Azula's Story continuity.


Azula
阿祖拉
Azula
Biographical information
Nationality

Fire Nation

Age

14 in 100 AG

Physical description
Gender

Female

Hair color

Black

Eye color

Amber

Personal information
Weapon of choice

Fire

Fighting style(s)

Firebending

Allies

Ozai

Enemies

Team Avatar, Zuko, Iroh, Mai, Ty Lee, Kuei, Long Feng , Kyoshi Warriors, more....

Chronological and political information
Position
  • Firebending prodigy
  • Former Crown Princess of the Fire Nation
  • Former Head of the Dai Li
  • Mental health patient
  • Would-be Fire Lord
  • Princess Regent (overthrown by Zuko during coronation)

Azula was the princess of the Fire Nation, daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, and the younger sister and archenemy to Fire Lord Zuko. She was a key adversary of Team Avatar throughout the War's last year, chasing Avatar Aang and her banished brother far across the Earth Kingdom accompanied by her two best friends Mai and Ty Lee.

A Firebending prodigy, Azula was sadistic, manipulative, and obsessed with power. She was a skilled tactician who orchestrated the Fire Nation victory over the Earth Kingdom capital Ba Sing Se and halted the invasion on the Day of Black Sun.

Azula harbored deep mental instabilities, believing her mother loved Zuko more than her. Raised by her father in an environment without a mother-figure, Azula had to be nothing less than perfect in her father's eyes. After the betrayal of her two closest friends, Mai and Ty Lee, these instabilities were brought up to the surface. Upon the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Azula was soon to be crowned Fire Lord; however, her defeat at the hands of her brother Zuko and Katara caused her to suffer a complete mental breakdown.

History

Background

Young Azula

Even as a young child, Azula exhibited a duplicitous and cunning streak, as she manipulated her mother to get her way.

Princess Azula was born to Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa about two years after her brother, Prince Zuko. She was named after her paternal grandfather, Fire Lord Azulon. Azula grew up in the riches, the splendor, and the privileges of royalty in the Fire Nation. Her sharp wits and the fact that she was a Firebending prodigy gained her great attention and acclaim, which quickly made her Ozai's favorite child. Her father began raising her as his true heir from an early stage, taking her into his confidence and grooming her in politics, while on the other hand neglecting Zuko. She later attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she met Mai and Ty Lee, two daughters of Fire Nation noblemen.

Even when she was only nine years old, Azula displayed her natural talents, along with her tendency for malice and perfection. When Ty Lee succeeded in performing a cartwheel after Azula had failed when attempting to do her own, Azula responded by shoving her friend to the ground and laughing gleefully. When she saw nine-year-old Mai attempting to hide her crush on her brother Zuko, Azula used her acting and cunning to convince her mother to make Zuko play with them. During their game, she proceeded to place an apple on Mai's head and set it on fire, forcing Zuko to tackle Mai into a fountain to put out the fire. She found great pleasure in embarrassing the two of them.

A true megalomaniac, Azula desired power from a young age, suggesting that her father would make a better Fire Lord than the heir apparent, her uncle, Iroh. She was shown destroying a doll that her uncle had sent her as a gift from the Earth Kingdom. Not long after this, her cousin Lu Ten was killed, causing Iroh to abandon his legendary 600 day siege at Ba Sing Se, which in turn prompted Azula to dub him "a quitter and a loser". She even showed slight disrespect to her grandfather as when she was told to call him "Fire Lord Azulon", she responded with, "Can't we just call him grandfather? He's not exactly the powerful Firebender he used to be".

Agni Kai audience

Azula exudes a sadistic relish as she watches her father burning her brother's face during an Agni Kai.

Shortly after receiving this news, Azula and the rest of her family went before Fire Lord Azulon, and she put on a spectacular display of her Firebending prowess. She then smugly watched Zuko try the same performance and fail. When Azulon sent everyone but Ozai out of the room, Azula grabbed her brother and hid behind the curtains. From there, she watched her father request that he be made Fire Lord instead of Iroh. When Zuko fled in fear from the Fire Lord's anger, Azula stayed to watch with amusement. Azula then 'supposedly' heard her grandfather sentence her brother to death, a fact that she wasted no time in gleefully reporting to the brother in question. She taunted him until her mother angrily pulled her away for a private talk. What happened after this is unknown, but Azula was next seen playing with the knife that Zuko had received from Iroh, and coolly announcing that their grandfather had passed away and their mother had vanished. Soon after, she was watching her father's coronation with glee. No love developed between her and Zuko throughout the next few years, as Ozai apparently began to favor her more and more over her brother during this period.

Azula, alongside Iroh and Zhao, watched Zuko's Agni Kai with his father. When Ozai burned her brother's face, she was seen smiling in triumph, along with Zhao. When Zuko was banished from the Fire Nation, Azula officially became Ozai's heir. For the next three years, she would continue her relentless training in Firebending, strategy, and combat, until she refined herself enough to serve her father. By this time, her Firebending advanced to the level where her fire was blue, thus increasing her overall bending power and intensity, making her a formidable prodigy.

Book One: Water

Shortly after Zhao's failed attack on the Northern Water Tribe, Azula was summoned by her father to his throne room. As she knelt before Fire Lord Ozai, he commented that Zuko was a failure and Iroh was a traitor. He charged her with a mission: to find and capture her uncle and brother.

Book Two: Earth

Main article: History of Azula (Spring 100 AG)

Book Three: Fire

Main article: History of Azula (Summer 100 AG)

After the War

After her Agni Kai, Azula was transferred to a mental health facility on a nearby island. On the way there, she was spoken to by an unidentified voice that only she could hear, telling her that she was no longer as perfect as she had always wanted to be. It was during this transfer that she realized that she could no longer conjure blue fire.

Personality

Azula relentlessly drilled herself towards perfection and settled for nothing less from herself or those that serve her. She believed that power and domination are what makes a person strong. She had absolute confidence in her "Divine Right to Rule" which she believed she was born with. She had neither pity nor mercy towards those she marked as treasonous or inferior.

Azula attacks

Azula, calm and deadly.

Azula was marked by a distinct lack of empathy. Even as a child, she was seen to react with hostility when outdone, when she shoved Ty Lee to the ground after Ty Lee had bested her in gymnastics. This behavior would characterize her relationship with her friends for many years. Although she could show sympathy towards them, she never cared for their feelings and manipulated them as she saw fit, such as when she threatened Ty Lee into leaving the circus and joining her cause.

She was prone to asserting herself and her authority in a grandiose way, such as when she humiliated Long Feng in front of his former henchmen, or when she threatened the captain of her ship. She also showed a need for admiration from her father, whom she emulated to a great degree, and to a lesser extent from everyone else around her. She was shown reacting with despair and rage when she learned her father was going to the Earth Kingdom without her.

From a very young age, Azula demonstrated sadistic aggression and a near total lack of remorse to friends, servants, family, and animals. Her own mother, Princess Ursa, once remarked, "What is wrong with that child?" after observing her casual cruelties. Azula's first reaction to hearing of Iroh's son's death was to wonder whether this now made her father the heir to the throne. She later dismissed her uncle as a quitter and a loser when learning he had ended his two-year siege of Ba Sing Se to grieve for Lu Ten. She eagerly watched Azulon proclaim Ozai's punishment for trying to claim the throne and grinned maliciously when Zuko was burned and scarred by their father. She also did not seem to care when her mother disappeared or her grandfather died. Her cruelty was apparently infamous and extreme; when Iroh accidentally ingested the poisonous White Jade flower, both he and Zuko quickly decided that they would rather go seek help from the Earth Kingdom and face certain death than deal with the Fire Nation and be handed over to Azula.

Azula reminisces

For a fleeting moment, Azula opens up and unveils pain and resentment behind her cold-blooded appearance.

Azula's former characteristic blue flames symbolize the power she possessed and constantly sought to increase. Her apathy also accounted for her ability to create and direct lightning, the "cold-blooded fire". According to Iroh, the skill required complete control of all emotion, which would not prove difficult for Azula with her one-track mentality. Because of these skills, she was also an excellent tactician, regularly displaying cunning, perception, and resourcefulness that allowed her to take advantage of almost any situation. She possessed good self-control, facing down Long Feng and deceiving him when held captive, and can lie with a straight face and no physical reactions.

Ironically, for all her refinement and self-confidence, Azula did retain some insecurity. As a result of her sequestered life of royalty, she had developed a considerable amount of social ineptitude, particularly in her uncertainty of how to act around boys, and she frequently intimidated them during conversation. Her overly competitive nature surfaced during a Kuai Ball game, and she later admitted her jealousy over how much attention Ty Lee received from others.

However, Azula later began to show signs of a fragile mentality. For all of her self-assurance, she was momentarily driven into rage when Mai betrayed her by helping Zuko to escape, and admitted to loving him more than she feared Azula. As Azula moved to strike her down, she was in turn temporarily paralyzed by Ty Lee. The enraged princess then ordered both her former friends to be locked away and "left to rot". While it was apparent that Azula held herself in high regard above her friends, their sudden betrayal drove her to the edge for an instant, hinting at just how unstable she would later prove to be.

Angry Azula yells

Azula's flawless demeanor is shattered by the unanticipated betrayal of Mai.

Azula's mentality continued to crumble as the series progressed. When she attacked Zuko and the gang at the Western Air Temple, Azula was evidently losing her sanity, as her attacks became far more vicious and she was shown to be now obsessed with killing Zuko.

The obvious tipping point occurred during her father's coronation as the Phoenix King, where Azula was told she would not assist in the attack on the Earth Kingdom. Azula seemed distraught at this and took this decision as an offense to her and her honor. For her, Ozai always represented absolute power and perfection, qualities which she desired to acquire. His refusal to bring her along on a mission where the two of them would serve essentially as equals made her realize that her lust for power not only frightened her enemies, but perhaps her father as well. Though Azula accepted the Fire Lord title, she was unable to cope with the fact that the only human being who ever loved her was indeed ashamed and afraid of her, yet still possessed power over her. Knowing that her father would neither submit to her will nor love her, Azula's grip on reality began to steadily plummet.

On the day of her coronation, Azula became excessively paranoid, banishing all of her subjects for minor or suspected offenses. When she styled her hair for the coronation, she was so frustrated by her inability to tie up her hair bun that she cut away her trademark bangs, leaving her hair a tattered mess. She then saw her mother in her mirror in an apparent hallucination. Her mother complimented her, saying that she always had beautiful hair. Azula then asked her mother why she was there, and Ursa told her that she wouldn't miss her daughter's coronation. Azula told her not to pretend to act proud, stating that she knew her mother thought she was a monster. The hallucination of her mother then told her that she didn't think that, that Azula was just confused, and that she loved her. Azula then went deeper into insanity, threw her brush at the mirror, breaking it, and broke down crying. She didn't seem surprised by her hallucination, implying it might not have been the first one, or even that she could no longer distinguish such things from reality.

Mental Azula

A visibly unstable Azula takes on her brother in an Agni Kai.

This incident exposed a complex facet to Azula's persona. Although outwardly maintaining a cold and dismissive opinion of her mother, Ursa's banishment ultimately had a devastating impact upon Azula's fragile psyche, possibly even more so than it did her brother Zuko. As Azula's sanity began slipping away from her, this inability to reconcile her perceived belief that Ursa considered her a monster with the truer (though idealized) maternal feelings of love and support that Ursa demonstrated in the hallucination created an inescapable conflict in her mind that furthered Azula's eventual mental collapse. Another thread of this argument explored the possibility that Azula may have harbored a guilt-ridden conscience, long suppressed or held at bay for many years by her indomitable will. Her conscience, in the form of her mother Ursa (whose love and guidance she secretly longed for but could never have) reared itself stronger than before. Ursa's gentle, motherly concerns over Azula's use of fear and cruelty as her only means of maintaining relationships with friends and family alike induces a violent mental breakdown prior to her coronation.

It would also seem that in her ever increasing insanity, Azula gave into her fear of being killed. She accused her servant of purposely leaving a pit in her cherry so that she'd choke. She got angry at the Dai Li when they arrived five minutes late, suggesting that in that time an assassin could sneak in, kill her, and "be on his merry way". She then suggested that the Dai Li could betray and kill her ("just like Mai and Ty Lee"), and banished them. She then began keeping her back against one of the throne's canopy poles, probably out of fear of being attacked or killed from behind.

It also appeared that she wasn't sleeping well as she had dark circles under her eyes, implying that she might have feared someone killing her in her sleep. Upon Lo and Li's arrival to counsel her, Azula's fear of disappointing her father was clear. Azula became so enraged when her old mentors' questioned her wishes that she momentarily forgot that they were not Firebenders, and ordered them to fight an Agni Kai with each other.

Azula showed up at her coronation impatient and with her hair still a mess. Katara and Zuko then arrived to fight her, and she constantly provoked the duo as she attacked them. When Katara finally defeated Azula and chained her to the ground, Azula screamed in anger and breathed fire uncontrollably, furiously struggling to break herself free, falling into complete insanity. She dragged herself along the ground helplessly, as Zuko and Katara looked on in pity and horror. Throughout the series, Azula appeared to be unaffected by her failure to kill the Avatar. However, her failed relationship with her mother (and her jealousy towards Zuko for receiving more of their mother's affection) coupled with the betrayal she suffered at the hands of Mai and Ty Lee (who were the closest persons in her entourage), and her subsequent defeat by Zuko and Katara, finally sent Azula over the edge as she cracked, screaming and crying uncontrollably. Azula was admitted into a mental health facility on a nearby island in the Fire Nation where she was closely monitored. On the way there, she seemed to be screaming things at no one, supporting the idea that she was insane.

Abilities

Firebending

Azula was one of the most skilled Firebenders in the series, and has been described as a "prodigy" by both Ozai and Zuko. Azula was likely the youngest master of Firebending, considering her obvious surpassing of the standard red and orange flames and near perfection of the lightning generation technique at age 14 when she was first introduced.

Prodigy Azula

Azula flaunts her prodigious Firebending skills before her grandfather.

The most noticeable feature of Princess Azula's bending was her ability to create her characteristic blue flames, which are much more intense than the red, orange, and yellow fire normally used by Firebenders. Azula perfected this technique sometime between 95 AG and 100 AG. She was seen using normal Firebending as a child, and then Azula had also been seen using flames in previously unseen ways, such as jets of flames, whirling disks, and blades of fire. Also notable was her ability to produce a greater amount of flames than most Firebenders without tiring, as she was shown to be able to maintain successive assaults for long durations of time.

She had also demonstrated the skill to condense her flames, enabling her fire to cut clean through various objects. When formed into fireballs, the flames serve to be rather concussive, able to firmly pulverize objects such as stone. Azula was able to generate powerful shields of swirling flames which could withstand the full force of four simultaneous elemental attacks (and a boomerang). She was even able to charge up her fire before releasing it, as was seen during her fight with Aang. Azula was also capable of fighting off multiple Kyoshi Warriors, using both Firebending and hand-to-hand techniques. The outcome of this fight was not shown, but the fact that Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee infiltrated Ba Sing Se posing as the Kyoshi Warriors revealed that Azula had won. Azula later stated that Suki was her favorite prisoner, further revealing that she had won the duel against Suki.

Blue fire shield

Azula's advanced Firebending.

The depth of Azula's potential seen thus far came where she was shown using very advanced techniques, creating large blasts of flame, evaporating a wave of water that Katara threw at her, using her flames to propel herself forward like a jet, and minutes later produce and guide lightning. While little of her Firebending was seen in in the earlier stages of Book 3, she did demonstrate her powers a few times. She had also used Firebending to give extra propulsion in a game of Kuai Ball, creating an explosion and burning the net. She had also used her Firebending to break free of her shackles, and briefly attacked Sokka, Aang, and Toph. Azula engaged a pitched battle with Zuko and Sokka, where she was still able to battle on equal footing with them despite her being outnumbered. In addition to creating her usual powerful fire balls, she is able to shoot her flames behind her in order to propel herself through the air onto the gondola.

Azula was one of the most powerful Firebenders in the entire series. Only Iroh and Ozai were clearly more powerful than she was, although Zuko was shown to be on approximately equal footing with her towards the end of the series, and it is unknown how well Aang would have compared to her, but it is thought once Aang masters Firebending, he would overpower her, for he was the Avatar. It is also unknown how Jeong Jeong would've compared to her. Azula's Firebending powers and prodigious skill allowed her to fend off many attackers with little effort, and, defeat a single talented bender, like Aang.

Azula was proficient in the highly difficult technique of creating and guiding lightning, a sub-skill of Firebending, and was the first character within the series to demonstrate the ability.

Azula fights Zuko

Azula's Firebending, enhanced by Sozin's Comet.

As Azula gradually lost her sanity prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, her Firebending became unfocused and wild, making her all the more dangerous, however it also resulted in her becoming exhausted more easily then usual. Despite her state of mind, her attacks on Zuko and Katara during her final duel proved ferocious and destructive, and was still able to fire lightning accurately. However, her mental instability still weakened her battlefield prowess, and this ultimately resulted in her defeat at the hands of Katara. She displayed the ability to breathe fire as she struggled against her chains, but this was only brought about by her madness and rage in her defeat. She could also make fire come out of her nose and mouth, but this was most likely due to the power of the comet and her complete mental breakdown.

Other Skills

Azula's skills in unarmed combat were displayed several times during the series. She easily avoided Zuko's frenzied knife attacks without the use of Firebending, guiding his hands off course. Later, she proceeded to disarm Suki, and knocked her off her feet without bending. She also had some skill with hidden weaponry, as she was shown the intent to use them during the eclipse. Her acrobatics and use of a hidden shuriken knife were apparently skills she picked up from Ty Lee and Mai, respectively. Azula was very agile: she had been shown to run up walls and do mid-air twirls. She dodged Aang and Toph's bending attacks with little to no effort using high jumps like Ty Lee. Her physical strength was also surprising as she could support her body in a horizontal position just using her arms with little effort.

Azula evades Team Avatar

Azula makes up for her handicap with dexterity and agility to evade Aang and Toph.

Azula had been shown to be an extremely cunning strategist. When she was a child, she demonstrated her military knowledge by successfully recounting Fire Lord Sozin's strategy in an old battle. She planned a trap for Iroh and Zuko, which was only accidentally foiled by the captain of her ship. She immediately discerned the Avatar's plan to mislead her with a false trail. She planned and carried out a coup against the Earth King, winning Ba Sing Se for the Fire Nation. During The Day of Black Sun, she laid a trap for Aang and his friends using Dai Li agents in the Fire Lord's throne room, ensuring that the Eclipse time would be used up. She also displayed the ability to be so extremely capable of lying effectively that even Toph couldn't sense it regardless of how blatant the lie was, showing that Azula doesn't feel remorse for lying or many of her other actions. She also displayed an innate ability to tell whether someone was telling the truth or not (almost like Toph), stating simply that she was a "people person".

Azula's intelligence made her very skillful in manipulating people. She had used this skill on many subjects, including her brother Zuko, her mother Ursa, Long Feng, the Dai Li, Sokka, and even her father to an extent.

Relationships

Main article: Azula's Relationships

Relatives

See Fire Nation Royal Family Tree

  • Ozai (father)
  • Ursa (mother)
  • Zuko (older brother)
  • Iroh (uncle)
  • Lu Ten (older cousin)
  • Azulon (paternal grandfather)
  • Sozin (paternal great-grandfather)
  • Ilah (paternal grandmother)
  • Roku (maternal great-grandfather)
  • Ta Min (maternal great-grandmother)
  • Aang (spiritual reincarnation of Avatar Roku, her maternal great-grandfather)

Trivia

  • When Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, he deemed Azula as his replacement; however, she was never formally crowned, and never actually became Fire Lord, though had she been crowned, she would have been known as the first known female Fire Lord.
  • Despite being younger than her brother, Azula sometimes called Zuko "Little Zuzu".
  • Azula was the first person to be seen creating lightning.
  • Her name may come from the Sanskrit word Asura, a Hindu term for demon.
  • Had she killed Aang with her lightning, she would have been the first and only person to have broken the Avatar Cycle.
  • It is strange that although Azula was a prodigy in Firebending, her masters, Lo and Li, aren't Firebenders at all. However, it is possible that teaching someone else did not require the ability to do so when the necessary knowledge was already possessed.
  • Azula said Sokka's name while taunting him in the Day of Black Sun. This was the only time she ever said the name of a member of Team Avatar out loud, apart from Zuko.
  • Azula was seen only once apologizing to one person. This was to Ty Lee for hurting her feelings.
  • Azula remarked to the Earth King, "It's terrible when you can't trust the people who are closest to you", which seemed a precursor to Mai and Ty Lee's betrayal.
  • Azula was originally supposed to have an arranged marriage in the third book, but the idea was scrapped.
  • Azula's last line of the series was, "There you are, filthy peasant!"
  • Azula was the only known female member of the royal family by blood.
  • Azula was the only named female Firebender seen in the series, the only others being the female sun warriors, female members of the Domestic Force, or female Avatars.


Preceded by
Zuko
Heir to the Fire Lord
98 - 100 AG
Succeeded by
Vacant


Preceded by
Long Feng
Head of the Dai Li
100 AG
Succeeded by
Group likely disbanded



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